John Eliot Gardiner / Monteverdi Choir

Bach: Cantatas for Christmas

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This box set, released in 2012, is a compilation of recordings pertaining to the Christmas season from the Bach Cantata Pilgrimage undertaken at the turn of the millennium by conductor John Eliot Gardiner, the Monteverdi Choir, and the authentic-instrument English Baroque Soloists. The group toured churches in Europe (ending up in America), performing all of Bach's cantatas on liturgically appropriate days. Each release back then, for no very good reason, featured a Third World child on the cover, similar to the one shown in the graphics for this release. Gardiner's cantata cycle, underwritten by none other than the Prince of Wales, is noteworthy for its warm sound, its fervor, and its engagement with the texts of the cantatas. Each release in the cycle featured an extensive exegesis from Gardiner himself, setting the meaning of the cantatas performed against the experience of the musicians in performing them. With this box, you get a much abridged version, and you miss a good deal of the immediacy of the performances, which is their main virtue: for contrapuntal clarity, vocal spectacle, historical erudition, and so forth, there are other places to go. On the plus side, the music hangs together simply because it is thematically related, and you get a good taste of what Gardiner's set is all about. If money is no object, try out some individual releases in the cycle; for a strong budget choice in the most human and humane of the major Bach cantata cycles, this is fine.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ, BWV 91
1 2:46
2 1:54
3 2:26
4 1:16
5 6:50
6 0:55
Unser Mund sei voll Lachens, BWV 110
7 6:10
8 3:59
9 0:31
10 3:21
11 3:43
12 3:34
13 0:55
Christum wir sollen loben schon, BWV 121
14 2:37
15 4:36
16 1:11
17 7:37
18 0:55
19 1:11
Dazu ist ershienen der Sohn Gottes, BWV 40
20 3:59
21 1:21
22 0:47
23 1:54
24 1:09
25 0:48
26 3:26
27 1:16

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Selig ist der Mann, BWV 57
1 3:39
2 1:21
3 6:15
4 0:26
5 4:54
6 1:30
7 4:08
8 0:49
Sehet, welch eine Liebe hat uns der Vater erzeiget, BWV 64
9 2:24
10 0:43
11 0:36
12 0:49
13 5:31
14 1:10
15 5:11
16 1:11
Süßer Trost, mein Jesus kömmt, BWV 151
17 9:49
18 1:03
19 4:45
20 0:51
21 0:43
Ich freue mich in dir, BWV 133
22 3:54
23 3:49
24 1:03
25 7:17
26 1:01
27 1:09

Track Listing - Disc 4

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 13:07
Tritt auf die Glaubensbahn, BWV 152
2 3:18
3 2:46
4 1:51
5 4:32
6 1:17
7 4:25
Das neugeborne Kindelein, BWV 122
8 3:46
9 5:07
10 1:22
11 2:36
12 1:22
13 0:47
Gottlob! nun geht das Jahr zu Ende, BWV 28
14 3:57
15 4:24
16 1:19
17 1:07
18 2:20
19 1:06
Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied!, BWV 190
20 4:26
21 1:24
22 2:32
23 1:22
24 3:29
25 1:29
26 2:09

Track Listing - Disc 5

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele II, BWV 143
1 1:17
2 1:49
3 0:18
4 2:39
5 1:33
6 2:47
7 2:12
Jesu, nun sei gepreiset, BWV 41
8 7:39
9 5:44
10 1:04
11 8:03
12 0:50
13 2:01
Herr Gott, dich loben wir, BWV 16
14 1:38
15 1:08
16 3:20
17 1:26
18 7:12
19 1:04
Gott, wie dein Name, so ist auch dein Ruhm, BWV 171
20 1:44
21 4:01
22 0:56
23 5:06
24 1:35
25 2:08

Track Listing - Disc 6

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Schau, lieber Gott, wie meine Feind, BWV 153
1 0:53
2 0:28
3 1:20
4 1:11
5 1:00
6 2:37
7 1:32
8 2:24
9 1:16
Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid II, BWV 58
10 3:37
11 1:13
12 5:15
13 1:09
14 2:24
Sie werden aus Saba alle kommen, BWV 65
15 4:11
16 0:36
17 1:41
18 2:52
19 1:20
20 3:21
21 1:17
Liebster Immanuel, Herzog der Frommen, BWV 123
22 5:09
23 0:46
24 7:02
25 0:37
26 8:36
27 1:09
blue highlight denotes track pick